KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Germany’s Jan Frodeno and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf are back-to-back champions following the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kona Saturday. They are the first duo to win two years in a row since 2009.
Germany swept the podium in the men’s division, as Frodeno bested fellow countrymen Sebastian Kienle and Patrick Lange with an 8 hour and six minute finish.
Frodeno was third after the swim and held on to his position at the front of the pack through the windy 112-mile bike course, finally taking control in the final stages of the marathon after outpacing Kienle.
Ryf smashed the female course record by nearly six minutes, finishing on Ali’i Drive with a time of 8 hours 46 minutes and 46 seconds.
Australian Mirinda Carfrae – a former three-time Ironman World Champion who had to drop out of the race last year due to an injury – took second place among the women. Third place Heather Jackson became the first American female to podium in Kona since 2007.
More than 2,300 athletes from 64 countries and territories on six continents competed in what organizers call the toughest one-day endurance event in the world.
The triathletes started the long day with a 2.4-mile ocean swim in Kailua Bay, followed by a grueling 112-mile bicycle ride along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway through hot lava fields, up the windy Kohala Coast with a mid-point turnaround in Hawi. The race ends with a 26.2-mile run through Kona, finishing on Ali’i Drive, a pantheon of past and current champions.
Although the champions get the glory by winning early, its the finishers who cross the finish line just before midnight that exemplify the heart of the event. Earning their chance from a pool of more than 110,000 athletes vying for a slot – many overcome dramatic obstacles en route to their personal triumph.